East Hampshire District Council last night approved ambitious plans setting out the future direction of the council and detailing its aspirations for welfare, technology and the environment.
The council approved four new strategies at its Full Council meeting on Thursday 13 August. They were:
- Corporate Strategy – an overarching document setting out the direction of the council
- Welfare and Wellbeing Strategy – how the council will bridge the gap between those residents that enjoy the best and worst welfare and wellbeing
- Digital Strategy – how the council will use technology for the benefit of residents
- Climate and Environment Strategy – how the council will tackle the climate emergency and how, with partners and the community, the changes needed for a sustainable future can be made.
Cllr Richard Millard, EHDC Leader, said: “The publication of these strategies is an important step for the council. It lays out how we are going to approach some of the key issues facing our community.
“The Corporate Strategy is the linchpin of everything the council does and will guide our decision-making over the next few years. It provides the framework for all our strategies and links them together with a common thread.
“Welfare, the environment and the advance of technology are some of the key issues this council, and our society as a whole, has to face, and I am delighted that we have now launched clear, evidence-based strategies that will guide our work on these issues.
“To have produced not one but four such detailed strategies, while also managing the lockdown and our current recovery from the coronavirus crisis, is a huge testament to the efforts of our councillors and officers and I am very excited to see the benefits they will bring.”
The Corporate Strategy is the over-arching strategy for the council, the document that drives the council forward.
It sets the tone and direction of the council’s work and connects the council’s other strategies and plans together.
It identifies the issues in the district and targets our resources to address them.
Welfare and Wellbeing Strategy
The Welfare and Wellbeing strategy sets out how we can improve the lives of our residents by making sure everyone has the same opportunities to reach their full potential.
It will focus resources on issues that have a serious impact across the district, including homelessness, obesity, mental health in young people and social isolation in older people. We can achieve this by working with our partners and our communities
Three key priorities:
- Improving physical and mental wellbeing – by encouraging exercise and heathy eating
- Supporting an older population – making East Hampshire a ‘dementia friendly’ district, reducing social isolation and encouraging independence
- Improving connectivity and a sense of place – encouraging the use of open areas and countryside for recreation
This strategy aims to create a ‘digital council’ with digitally ‘savvy’ staff and councillors providing accessible services.
Digital is becoming the norm in many areas of our lives and councils must respond by making their services convenient to our residents.
Customers are used to operating in a world where they can access the services they need 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The strategy states that if it can be done digitally then it should be. We will invest in our websites and our online channels to meet residents’ needs and then target our resources more effectively to help those who cannot access digital channels.
Three key priorities:
- Digital shift - The use of digital tools became increasingly critical as we worked through lockdown and continue to provide key services into the future.
- The Local Digital Declaration - This is a national initiative across the public sector to ensure services are designed to meet the needs of our residents; challenge the technology market to provide the right tools; protect residents’ online privacy and security and deliver better value for money.
- Investing in and implementing digital - Our digital design principles will guide the kinds of digital tools we need and support the case for further investment.
Climate and Environment Strategy
The purpose of this strategy is to provide a clear statement of the council’s climate and environment objectives and to set out how the council will tackle the climate emergency and protect and enhance the natural environment.
It outlines how we will reduce its carbon emissions to net-zero, and how we can use our influence as a planning authority to promote a sustainable low-carbon future, where people and nature thrive.
The strategy will help the whole district deliver its part in the wider county, national and international commitments on reducing emissions, and to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
Three key priorities:
- Reducing carbon emissions from the council and its partners - East Hampshire District Council will make operations net-zero by 2050 or sooner. The council will embed low-carbon operations across all council run services, and work with our partners who run services on our behalf to do the same.
- Reducing carbon emissions from others – The council will use its position as the planning authority to ensure low-carbon development and work with the government, other councils, our residents, community groups and local businesses to make East Hampshire a carbon neutral district.
- To protect, improve and enhance the natural environment - The strategy will help us achieve an environmentally sustainable future and improve local biodiversity.